Security a Sham

During Loadedog’s brief absence from the airwaves, one of the events that we sorely missed commenting upon was the Chaser guys’ visit to APEC. The subject of much mirth and the cause of much embarrassment for the police, as well as garnering enormous ratings for the ABC, it seems the deeper ramifications of the stunt have been somewhat ignored.

The Liberals have traded on their supposed strength in ‘security’ as the party willing to take the measures required to keep us safe, from terrorists and any other threats they can intelligence up. In doing so they have followed the US model of greatly expanding the powers of the cops and spooks, ignoring long standing conventions of war and imprisonment, and making prolonged war on countries presenting no tangible threat to our safety.

It’d be nice to think that, however bad international relations become, our country could protect itself from real terrorists by such measures, but the fact is we can’t and the Chaser stunt makes this stunningly clear.

All the millions spent on men in storm trooper suits and helicopter snipers and fences couldn’t stop an organisation with the meagre resources of the ABC driving a convoy of poorly disguised cars to within sight of Bush’s hotel. Do you think al Qaeda couldn’t think of that? The only thing stopping the Chaser team getting to the very door was their own sense that they had got in too deep.

‘Fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here’ amounts to ‘offence is the best form of defence’. But as the world displays ever more ‘offence’ at our behaviour, will we eventually wonder if such philosophies are best left to highschool football coaches and that real, sustainable security may reside in a world where enemies are eliminated by honest and just settlements of the conflicts that produce them.

The truth, as Alan Greenspan and Brendan Nelson have been so candid to admit, is that the US and Australia are in Iraq to ensure continued access to cheap oil, not a bad goal in itself given our economies are dependent on it, but one that seems to rely on the indefinite occupation of a country whose sovereignty remains a gift that keeps on not being given. Are we all ok with that? Meanwhile Cholera breaks out.

The Australian police squealed like a little girl in explaining the extraordinary lapse in security last week. They’d been doing their job properly and got in the faces of a few visiting pollies (possibly ones they should have recognised but anyway) and from somewhere on high came the word to stop holding up the convoys. Over-the-top security measures are fine it seems, as long as it’s only dirty protesters, alleged terrorist sympathisers and the average Sydneysider bearing the brunt.

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